KTBC-TV invests in an SNG/ENG truck
KTBC-TV in Austin, TX, called on Shook Mobile Technologies to build its first satellite newsgathering and uplink truck.
The station’s design criteria called for reliability in a cost-effective and user-friendly truck. The station also requested that the truck be built on a Mercedes-Benz designed Freightliner Sprinter 3500 high-roof chassis. The new truck’s high-quality transmission capability proved valuable in providing local and national FOX viewers with footage of both Hurricane Katrina and Rita.
The raised-roof van fits three operators and requires no special parking permits or driving capabilities. It can maneuver easily into narrow spaces in the city. It also provides twice the gas mileage typical of a combination satellite/uplink truck and features an on-board diesel generator.
The truck also features an attractive ergonomic interior. The passenger seat swivels to allow an operator comfortable access to the production area. Scopus Video Networks’ E-1720 digital satellite newsgathering (DSNG) encoder — a compact, lightweight and power-efficient system with integrated telemetry — simplifies operation so that reporters can manage operation without the assistance of an SNG operator. With the L-band output and MPEG-2 codec, it provides double-duty in enabling transmission of audio and video converted for 4:2:0 or 4:2:2 satellite transmission.
Live video and audio acquired by the shooter can be combined with pre-recorded data directly into the MPEG-2 encoder provided by Scopus, which encodes a baseband video signal to a compressed signal. It also allows the compressed signal to be QPSK modulated and converted to an L-band output delivered directly to the Paradise Data Systems 125-W solid-state power amplifier with an integral block upconverter.
The solid-state transmitter is mounted on the truck’s 1.2m Vertex antenna with automatic satellite location capability, a GPS-controlled system that makes it easy for the truck operators/journalists to set up quickly once they’re on site.
Equipped with an MRC microwave system, fitted to a 56ft mast, the new van is a dual-function truck. Operators can use digital terrestrial microwave link if they’re close enough to the receiver with a clear line of sight. If not, they can transmit via satellite. An Ikegami remote mast camera is also fitted to the mast to get shots that would otherwise be difficult.
The unit uses Leitch terminal equipment, a full two-channel IFB system by Studio Technology and an RTS intercom system. KTBC supplied a Panasonic P2 NLE and P2 field camera system. Audio is handled by a Mackie rack-mount 16-channel audio system. The unit’s Willbert D-Tech comprehensive mast safety package warns operators if the unit gets too close to high-power lines or other dangerous high-voltage sources.